Needing bullpen help, Angels deal for Dane De La Rosa, Elvin Ramirez.

The Angels’ bullpen is an unsettled mess. Their relievers have a collective 7.20 earned-run average in spring training, more than a full run higher than the next-closest team.

Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen, Sean Burnett, Jerome Williams, Scott Downs, Mitch Stetter and David Carpenter all have ERAs above 5. If the Angels choose to send Garrett Richards to Triple-A Salt Lake to get work as a starter (though it’s unlikely in light of his stellar spring), those seven could comprise the Angels’ Opening Day bullpen.

Even though it’s only spring training, the situation was urgent enough for the Angels to add three relievers Wednesday. Before the Angels’ 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers, they announced the signing of Mark Lowe to a minor-league contract. Lowe threw a bullpen Wednesday and is on the travel roster to go to Anaheim.

After the game, the Angels added two more arms to the bullpen: right-hander Elvin Ramirez and right-hander Dane De La Rosa.

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One name stands out as Angels announce Freeway Series roster.

Mark Lowe

Mark Lowe had a 3.43 ERA in 36 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers last season. (Associated Press)

The Angels are bringing 20 position players and 15 pitchers to the Freeway Series. One name on the list stands out.

Mark Lowe signed a minor-league contract this morning after being cut by the Dodgers on Sunday. Lowe, a XX(B) free agent, finished last season on the Texas Rangers’ roster and had until Tuesday before the Dodgers had to decide to keep or cut him. Coincidentally, the Angels’ final four exhibition games are against either the Rangers or Dodgers.

Lowe, 29, has pitched in parts of seven major-league seasons for the Rangers and Mariners. The right-hander posted a 4.15 ERA in nine Cactus League appearances with the Dodgers (four earned runs in 8 ⅔ innings) while walking three and striking out six. With David Carpenter struggling (5.91 ERA in 12 appearances), Lowe stands a decent chance of making the team. The Angels have four open spots on the 40-man roster.

The other name on the list that seems out of place is Austin Wood, but he’ll probably only get on the mound in case of an emergency. The 22-year-old right-hander finished last season at Low-A Cedar Rapids.

Here’s the full list:

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Forbes values Angels at $718 million, ninth-highest in baseball.

Angels logoThe Angels are worth $718 million, according to Forbes magazine’s annual value rankings of the 30 Major League Baseball franchises.

That’s a nine percent increase compared to last year, though Forbes estimates the Angels’ operating income at negative $12.9 million, down from a year ago.

The Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Cubs top the list as baseball’s only billion-dollar-plus franchises.

The Phillies, Mets, Giants, Rangers, Angels and Cardinals round out Forbes’ top 10.

Here’s what Forbes wrote about the Angels:

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Postgame Thoughts: Angels lose 7-1; Jered Weaver looks ready.

Jered Weaver had already left the ballpark as the Angels’ bullpen was busy ruining his handiwork. He won’t have that luxury of leaving early next week.

In most other ways Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a 7-1 Angels loss at Salt River Fields, had to feel like a regular-season game for Weaver. The Angels’ Opening Day starter allowed two hits, no runs, walked one and struck out three in his final start of spring training. Weaver needed only 87 pitches to get through seven innings.

“It was nice to get under the lights and go out the way you would in the regular season,” Weaver said. “I always try to treat the last game of spring training like a regular season game.”

That he did, against a Diamondbacks lineup that featured at least seven of eight Opening Day position players. (Though it should be noted that three — Jason Kubel, Willie Bloomquist and Aaron Hill, who was hit in the pinkie finger by a Weaver pitch — left with injuries).

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One more thought on the Vernon Wells trade to the New York Yankees.

I had the chance to ask a veteran baseball guy — not a team employee, but someone with decades of experience in different facets of the game — about the Vernon Wells trade on Monday. Specifically, is there such a thing as an “unmovable contract” if Wells gets traded twice after signing a seven-year, $126 million deal?

“The economics of the game have changed so much in the last one, two seasons,” he said, “between cable revenue and MLB revenue sharing, unmovable contracts are looking movable to teams that have money.”

Keep that in mind in 2014, when Albert Pujols‘ salary jumps to $23 million, and gradually escalates before expiring in 2021. Or in 2015, when Josh Hamilton‘s salary jumps to $25.4 million, or 2016 when Hamilton becomes a $32.4 million man.

Who knows where the economics of the game will be then, but don’t call either contract unmovable.

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What is the Angels’ ‘greatest advantage’ to trading Vernon Wells?

Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells couldn’t be moved easily for a fifth outfielder (Associated Press photo)

 

With six days left before Opening Day, the Angels have 36 players on their 40-man roster. Brad Mills, Bobby Cassevah, Steve Geltz and now Vernon Wells have all left camp one way or another.

That means four players have a way of working their way onto the Angels’ roster, including some who will start the season in the majors. That was by design, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Tuesday.

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More on the two newest Angels minor leaguers, Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed.

Someone suggested this morning that the two players the Angels acquired for Vernon Wells on Tuesday, Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed, would be good title characters in a Buddy Comedy. Look out Harold and Kumar…here come Exicardo and Kramer!

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Angels, New York Yankees finalize Vernon Wells trade.

Vernon WellsIt’s official. 

Vernon Wells has passed his physical and Major League Baseball has signed off on a trade sending the outfielder to the New York Yankees.

The Angels received Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed from the Yankees. Cayones, a 21-year-old outfielder, finished last season in the Yankees’ Low-A affiliate in the New York Penn League. Sneed, a 24-year-old pitcher, went 0-7 with a 5.37 ERA with the Yankees’ affiliate in the High-A Florida State League in 2012.

The Yankees will also send approximately $13 million to Anaheim over the next two years to offset some of Wells’ salary.

Wells, who cost the Angels Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in a January 2011 trade with the Blue Jays, was a major disappointment on the field during his two seasons in Anaheim.

In 2011, one year removed from his third career all-star appearance, Wells batted .218 with a .248 on-base percentage and .412 slugging percentage. His batting average was the lowest among qualifying American League players.

In 2012, Wells was relegated to the bench when Mike Trout emerged as the Angels’ everyday center fielder and eventual American League rookie of the year. Wells played only 77 games, batting .230/.279/.403.

Meanwhile, he continued to earn the team’s highest salary as a result of the seven-year, $126 million contract he signed with Toronto in 2008.

Now that Wells is gone, here’s your chance to chime in:

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A Vernon Wells non-update: Angels-to-Yankees deal still pending physical.

Vernon WellsThe proposed trade that would send Vernon Wells to the New York Yankees still isn’t complete. Multiple sources have confirmed reports that Wells won’t take his physical until Tuesday, at which point the trade can become official.

We still don’t know what the Angels will receive from the Yankees in return for Wells, other than something in the neighborhood of $6-8 million per year over the next two years. That’s a nice chunk of change but it still only partially offsets the approximately $42 million left on Wells’ contract.

For the Angels, trading Wells opens a spot for Kole Calhoun or J.B. Shuck to earn the fourth outfielder job. Shuck doubled Monday to raise his Cactus League batting average to .357; Calhoun is batting .200.

More updates as we get ‘em, but there might not be any until tomorrow.

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What will the Angels’ bullpen look like April 1?

David Carpenter

David Carpenter could be on the bubble for one of the Angels’ final bullpen jobs … or not. (Getty Images)

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his pitching staff “will have a more situational look in the bullpen” when the regular season begins. It’s not hard to figure out what that means, as there are 15 pitchers currently in camp and 12 will start the season on the active roster.

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